Which suit? by Linda Cusmano
One of the most common questions I have been getting is about competition suits.
There are many options from ready made to custom made with costs which can rise into the thousands! Personal preference must also play a choice in this.
Styles, colors, adornments and fabrics are your next dilemma although many contests have finer guidelines regarding these factors. Go with your favorite color, style and fit but only to an extent!
First is bodybuilding. Some federations are now allowing more than your basic fabric, solid color suits. Some let you go custom for the night shows and some even for pre judging. Of course the freedom of style is nice but if you go too far you could sabotage your score by distraction so try not to go too far off of the ‘simple’. Velvet solid color is a nice touch toward femininity and more prominent for female bodybuilders. Men are venturing into smaller strapped posing suits with better cut backs and slight v tapers at the middle front and back area. Men are also using some less likely colors such as pinks, yellows and greens. Red is always a nice color for men or women as is black especially if you are of neutral coloring, meaning you are not blonde or red headed and you are not very light or very dark. Adornments are very uncommon but I have seem a few suits on females with 5-7 stones here and there, but very, very subtle!
Individuals with lighter hair complement lighter and pale colors of pinks, blues, orange, and certain less vibrant greens. Darker haired green, brown or blue eyed competitors work well with purples, blues, aqua or teals of vibrancy or ‘jeweled tones’ as I read it on one of the message boards I frequent!
Naturally darker individuals can pull off yellows and even browns; of course darker greens work well too.
Patterns, hologram or wilder suits are sometimes used for routine but normally not suggested for posing since as I mentioned earlier, it will take away from your physique and distract the judges’ eye and how they see your lines, cuts and definition, possibly affecting your overall score.
Fitness Models have total reign over suit choice, no boundaries other than making sure it is not skimpy beyond acceptance. T backs are not allowed but you can get pretty fitted suits for the rear.
The V taper in front and back of the bottoms is a nice touch but for many, the present style will dictate suit style choice. So if the bottoms of that years trend show straight across and low hip, then you will see that style on stage and it will score well. Tops alike, if halter is the style then go for it, especially if you have the right chest. If you are heavier then you may need to work with under wire styled tops. Tankini’s are nice but you do want to have your midriff showing for better scores.
Coloring is similar to the above but although fitness models are free to add as much adornment as they like, most seem to go for either a hologram style, some simple beading for only slight accent or they may choose a fabric design.
The brighter and more obvious is not necessary for this class like it would be for Fitness where you really want to stand out.
Fitness and Figure suits can vary in rules depending on the federation, some like Figure suits to be alike Bodybuilding and have specific boundaries, some go as far as to tell you what color, fabric, style and shoes to wear!!!
For the Fitness and Figure competitions which allow more freedom in suit choices there is the classic posing suit style with straps crossing the lower back or the 2 piece with bra style top which has under wire support and cups with padding. A smaller chest works with choice 1 and the posing suit style shows more physique so do use this if you have the chest for it especially for the Figure class, but for a heavier bust opt for support and see if you can get a top styled with the straps which come from the cup around to the back rather than full material which cover the underarm/lat area.
Go for flash and flair in Fitness but tone down for Figure again to not distract from physique. With Fitness they still do look at the body but the creativity and style of suit, the flash of the suit is looked at toward final score more so than Figure and the body has an overall lower impact in most Fitness than Figure which is all physique in most shows except those which do have routine.
I would discuss all these items with the person making your suit and I do suggest going for custom made vs. getting one pre made unless it is a used custom made which happens to fit you well.
Custom suits have more originality and show your personality by the choices you have made with style and color.
One piece suits are called for in some Fitness and Figure contests. The shape of these is very important and can make or break your scoring by the fit and cut so definitely opt for a custom job so that you can make sure it is as open as you can get it. Some contests allow open stomach one piece suits but many don’t so you want to ensure the rest of it is as revealing as you can, according to the contest rules. You want the sides to be as far forward as possible, back bottoms to be low and V cut, front hips to be very high with small minimal strapping. Definitely use adornments on Fitness suits both one and two piece. Swavarski stones are the nicest and clearest with the best shine but not as affordable as cheap sequins etc. Don’t cheap out, go for the stones and make sure you are presenting yourself well; it’s not worth being sticky out on this! The extra cost is worth it in the end and is not a huge extra cost really; this is one of the areas where your funds need to be concentrated but within reason of course. Some of these stoned up suits can run in the 5 figures which personally I find ridiculous, it may be that the stones and suit fabric costs, plus the time to make it is worth the 5 figures but do you really want to be judged based on who has more money to get a better suit? They are judging the body and so the next gal may have a cheap suit yet have the better body and still win, now your out all that cash and no trophy to show for the effort!
Lastly is tweaking the fit of your suit. Stick your fit with some bikini bike. If your suit is made very well you normally won’t need this but incase, it is handy for the boob and butt areas, poor fit can affect scoring so sticking it may help your overall look.
Good luck and enjoy the contest prep process!!
About the Author...
Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Competitor
Body Rush Personal Training & Lifestyle Consultation
If you are beyond this level and looking for more
tips toward contest physiques then feel free to email me your
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Any fitness, health, diet, rehab or contest (fitness, figure,
bodybuilding, fitness model) questions can be emailed to Angel@lindacusmano.com
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